How to Conduct a Good Telephone Media Interview

One of the best ways to self promote yourself or your small business or product is If through media interviews.  Although getting on one of the major radio or television talk shows may be a tough challenge, internet radio has opened the doors to many opportunities. With internet radio as part of your marketing plan, you can reach hundreds or thousands of people at little or no cost.

Here are some tips to make your telephone media interview effective:

1)  If you’re calling in be sure to get the correct time/date and the time zone.  If you agree to 5pm PST and you live on the East Coast, that means you’re supposed to call in at 8pm.

2)  Prepare a list of questions to provide to the host/producer.  If you’ve written a book, send them a copy.

3)  Try not to use a cell phone and do not ask the host or producer to call you on a line with call waiting.

4)  Have a specific area set aside for your telephone interview so there won’t be any noise distractions.

5)  Be sure to keep some water nearby in case your throat gets dry.

6)  If you are portraying yourself as an EXPERT on a particular subject never say “I don’t know.”  Even if you don’t know the answer, cover by saying something like “that’s a really good question and offer your take on the question.  (That’s why giving a list of questions to the host/producer is a good idea so you can have some sense of control over the interview).

7)  If callers are a part of the interview be sure to address everyone by their first name and thank them for calling in.  They didn’t have to you know.

8)  Relax, be conversational and let your personality shine!

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More Press Release Mistakes to Avoid

A large number of press releases that are circulated miss the mark because they fail to grab the right kind of attention in an effective manner.

Here are five press release mistakes to avoid:

1)   You are NOT the center of attention:  Your press release should be written for your audience.  You may have written an awesome book but what value does your work offer to the readers?  A potential book buyer or customer will more likely be sold on the value of product or service rather than on YOU—especially if you’re not a “recognizable” name.

2)  Don’t ADVERTISE.  Press releases are meant to inform, not sell a product or service. It should offer valuable information, education or entertainment.

3)  Poor Contact Information:  Make sure you identify the best single point of contact and a correct phone number so interested media can reach you and get the best possible attention and response from you to meet their needs.  There should be ONE key contact person, ONE contact phone number, ONE email address, and ONE url.

4)  You didn’t include the 5 W’s:  The Who, What, Where, When and Why of a press release is extremely important.

5)   No call to action:  You must tell the media what you want them to do with your press release.  You need to tell them what you are asking for or suggesting they do after reading it.  Then you might want to offer some incentives like free review copies of your book if you’re an author.

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How to Maximize Your Press Release Exposure

When you send out a press release you are literally competing with thousands of others who are also seeking some type of media attention.  The problem with many publicity seekers is they have no real clue on how to target the right market so they end up doing what I call a “spray and pray.”  They put out the release and hope the right eyes will see it and respond.

First and foremost, be clear on who you are targeting with your release.  Yes, you are hoping a media outlet (or two) will pick it up but think about who else can benefit from your information.  You can maximize your press release exposure by identifying the groups(s) who would be interested in what you’re offering and then targeting them directly.

How do you do that?

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus….need I say more.  These social media sites give you an opportunity to build relationships with people you don’t even know.  That, in turn, opens up a new audience of potential buyers and/or customers.

So before you send out that next press release, go to your favorite social media sites, find those groups you feel closely aligned with and start making connections.  It can also maximize your press release exposure because if you’ve built a good relationship with others, you may find your press release “tweeting” around the world.



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Press Release Mistakes You Must Avoid

When writing a press release, your first goal should be to have someone actually read it—not just the headline—but the ENTIRE release.

Here are some mistakes to avoid to having a newsroom editor hit the delete button:

1) Don’t be too wordy:  The who, what, where, when and why of a press release is sufficient and you can even set it up in bullet points.  For example:

What:  Holiday Bazaar

When:  January 10, 2014

Where:  123 Main Street, Anytown, USA

Why:  To raise money for the Homeless Mission

Who:  Sponsored by (your business) with address and contact information.

You can also add more information to the “why” section to plead your case as to why it would be a great media opportunity.

Your press release is too long:  This ties into your press release being too wordy.  If your press release is more than one page, chances are it is too long.  You should be able to say everything you need on one page.  If you need a second page, that should contain the contact (who) information.

Know the difference between advertising and news.  Don’t try to pass off advertising your business or product as “news.”  If you have a grand opening or are releasing a new book (product) and want news coverage, find an angle to help sell the story.  The “doors opening” isn’t a story.

Misspelled words:  There is nothing worse that receiving a press release with a number of misspelled words. That’s why it’s so important to check your grammar and spelling.

No follow-up:  You can’t rely on a single fax or email to get the press coverage you may be seeking.  It is in your best interest to follow up with the newsroom assignment editor to not only make sure they received your release, but another follow-up closer to the date of your event to see if they will be covering it.  If not, then offer to provide them with a video clip or photos.

Finally, Understand your local media to make sure you’re getting information to the right people at the right time. Call up the news desk and ask what email address is the right one to send your press releases to and what time of day/week they prefer to receive them to make sure you meet their deadlines.


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Is Your Press Release Newsworthy

When I worked in radio and television news, i was always surprised at the type of press releases that would be submitted.

Grand Opening of New Pizza Place 

Learn How to Lose the Weight You Want for a New You in the New Year

Have Fun During Free Walking Tour

Believe it or not, these are REAL headlines from REAL press releases.  In my expert opinion, not only are these headlines not attention-grabbing, but they also don’t say anything that would make me want to read on for the “newsworthiness” of the release.

Here’s the point:  just because you’re excited about a certain topic or event doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a newsworthy story.  There are two things for you to consider BEFORE submitting your press release.

1)  What are you selling?  The media tends to frown upon “salesy” type press releases.  If your main goal is to get butts in seats and make a profit, chances are very good that your press release will be overlooked by the newsroom.  Instead, it may be forwarded to the sales department to see if they can get you to spend some advertising dollars to promote your business or product.  Play down the idea that you’re trying to get people to come to your event and focus on the value an event (or product) like yours prevents to Mr. and Mrs. Average America.  And if there is a patriotic, holiday or charitable theme attached, that’s a winner!

2)  What value does it offer to the media?  As much as we want to believe that the media is all about community service and looking out for the little guy, the bottom line is it’s all about ratings and their maximum reach potential. If your story is perceived as a “mom and pop” type event the media is probably going to overlook it;.  However, if if has the perceived power to reach the masses and have them singing the TV station’s praises for covering your news story, then it’s a win-win for everybody.

Editors and reporters have to be satisfied first before they will allow you to convey your newsworthy information to the general public.

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